November 18, 2016

Cleaning up the laundry space

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No longer an afterthought, the laundry room is where form meets function

DESIGN
By  Kathleen Freimond

They may be one of the most utilitarian areas in the household, but laundry spaces are finally getting the attention they deserve from style savvy homeowners.

No matter the size of your laundry space, identifying who uses the clothes washing and drying facilities—and how—is essential to create a plan for a functional layout.

“Nowadays several family members often do their own laundry and if the space isn’t functional they quickly get frustrated,” says Tara Blanchet, sales and design manager at California Closets Vancouver. “Everyone needs to know where things are and everything needs a space.”

People are inspired by online sites like Pinterest or by watching home decorating shows. They have definitely upped their expectations.

Available laundry space typically depends on the size of the home. Condo owners usually have the most compact space: often, just a closet with a stacked washer and dryer. Larger homes may have a dedicated laundry room and new, larger homes might have a laundry on every level, says Chris Isfeld, co-owner with his brother Brett of Designer Closet Guys.

If space allows, most people opt for a side-by-side washer and dryer, says Isfeld. Choosing front-loading appliances allows the combo to be placed under a countertop. This maximizes floor space and allows for a folding area and, potentially, a fixed-rod, wall-mounted or retractable drying rack in the vertical space. Condo owners have more limited options, but sometimes the laundry closet can accommodate a few wall hooks for air-drying delicate blouses or shirts on hangers.

“There is a move to more luxury in the laundry,” says Isfeld. This is evident in homeowners wanting cabinetry for storage as well as millwork and trim in a room that is quickly losing its reputation as a dull and drab utilitarian space.

Blanchet agrees and says there is a trend to making laundry spaces more personal and attractive.

“People are inspired by online sites like Pinterest or by watching home decorating shows. They have definitely upped their expectations,” says Blanchet.

Some people continue design themes from the rest of the house into the laundry room while others may opt for whimsical art to make the space more personal.

In a room that requires water for the washer and laundry sink, tiles are a popular option for the floor, says Isfeld. Counters should also be durable and waterproof. While Blanchet says homeowners often choose stone counters to match those elsewhere in the home, laminate is also a budget-friendly option.

There is a move to more luxury in the laundry.

Blanchet agrees and says there is a trend to making laundry spaces more personal and attractive.

“People are inspired by online sites like Pinterest or by watching home decorating shows. They have definitely upped their expectations,” says Blanchet.

Some people continue design themes from the rest of the house into the laundry room while others may opt for whimsical art to make the space more personal.

In a room that requires water for the washer and laundry sink, tiles are a popular option for the floor, says Isfeld. Counters should also be durable and waterproof. While Blanchet says homeowners often choose stone counters to match those elsewhere in the home, laminate is also a budget-friendly option.

Innovative designs of traditional accessories like ironing boards can be significant space savers.

a well-planned laundry room provides a space for every step in the process.

Depending on your available space, consider ironing boards that can pull out from integrated drawer fronts, swivel when secured in wall cabinets or fold down from a wall mount.

Function always tops form in this hard-working space. Many new laundry rooms have hampers for dirty clothes out of sight behind cabinet doors; however, stores have such a variety of hampers—bright or pastel colours, on wheels, or several consolidated into a sorting station—that these easily do double duty and add to the décor.

Although its importance is sometimes under-estimated, lighting ups the efficiency factor in the laundry. Consider complementing ambient lighting with task lighting above the counter so that you can easily measure detergent, sort clothing and most importantly, be able to see well enough to find spots and stains that need special treatment.

Above all, a well-planned laundry room provides a space for every step in the process that gets clothes from the hamper back into closets and ready to wear. •

Wash. dry. repeat.

New technology and designs are making washers and dryers decidedly user-friendly. We asked Trail Appliances to give us the inside track on the new generation of laundry appliances.trailappliances.com

Read more from Design, Design Trends

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